Job Vacancy: Youth Climbing Team Coach

Friday, August 11th, 2017 - Posted by Danie

Want to be involved with developing youth talent within the Region and be a part of the Craggy Youth Team? We’re looking for a coach to join our established team who work with the Youth Team here at Craggy.

Role: As one of the Craggy Youth Team Coaches you’ll be delivering a carefully planned and structured season of sessions to prepare the Team for Competitions and Events throughout the year. You’ll work alongside Mark Croxall and the other Youth Team coaches to maintain a high level of performance and talent development. With Team members already amongst the very best competition and rock climbers in the World this is a great opportunity to both work with and learn from the best.

Hours: The Team meets every Wednesday evening from 5pm til 7pm during term-time and you would be expected to attend the vast majority of those sessions along with the other Coaches. You will also be expected to attend up to 5 weekend days per year to offer competition support. Some of these may require travel both within and outside of the Region which will be paid for.

Requirements: Applicants must be aged 18 years or over at time of application. You will be expected to have a good level of climbing ability – 6b on Boulders and Routes as a base level. You should also have a good knowledge of different climbing styles and be a very competent lead belayer. The successful applicant will be subject to DBS checks. Please Note: We are not looking for an established “Performance Coach”. However, this could be the first step on the ladder for someone wanting to pursue a career in climbing coaching.

Holiday: Holiday Pay is included in the Hourly Rate for this position.

Pay: Hourly Rate is £8.65 per hour.

Overtime: There is the opportunity to work additional hours at your normal hourly rate providing 1:1 coaching to Youth Team members. This will be arranged directly with you by the team member’s parent and will be dependent on your availability.

Interview: We will be holding interviews during the week of 11th to 15th of September. You will need to ensure you will be available to attend during that week. Interviews are most likely to take place during the evenings.

How to apply: Please send a copy of your CV and a covering letter to Danie Rushmer, Youth Team Manager at Danie will be happy to answer any questions in connection with this role. Please ensure that your application reaches Danie by Sunday 3rd of September 2017.

Posted in 3 Star Membership, Craggy Island News, Guildford News, Kids Club, Newsletter, Route Setting, Sutton News | No Comments »

5 things about Climbing I wish I knew 5 years ago…

Wednesday, October 28th, 2015 - Posted by Danie

friends1. It’s just so much fun! It sure is. The thing we hear most when people complete their beginner’s course is “I wish I’d done this years ago!” Climbing doesn’t have to be hard work, although it is actually part of the fun of it if you ask me. Because it’s such a sociable sport too you’re guaranteed to hook up with like-minded people and find yourself looking forward to your trips to the wall more and more.

2. It’s really good for you. Climbing is so great for toning up and getting your body in shape! Gyms are generally dull, sweaty places where people go to work-out on their own and surrounded by strangers (possibly because no-one actually wants people they know to see them red in the face and dripping from exertion?! Fair enough.) However, it’s also great for your mental well-being. A sociable, feel-good activity that gets the blood pumping and the adrenaline racing… What more could you ask for to make you feel alive?!

DSC_04653. You’ll make friends. Life long friends. When you regularly choose to place your life in the hands of another, it’s easy to see why people strike up friendships that span many years. It’s also one of the most likely sports that you’ll meet someone you’d like to be romantically involved with; perhaps for the same reason as above but possibly also because it’s been voted the “sexiest” sport with women scoring climbers higher than surfers and footballers!

4. Getting back in to climbing is hard work.
So, you used to climb and then you gave it up for any number of reasons… Prepare for a battle! The major issue with getting back in to climbing is that your head knows exactly what you should do but your body can’t quite live up to your head’s expectations. You’ll get there though, just don’t expect too much from yourself too soon and make sure that you’re having fun with your climbing!

5. You can make a living out of it. I recall many years ago having a blazing row with my dad about the fact I did not want to go to University – I wanted to be a climber and work in climbing! I worked hard at my climbing, got my qualifications, applied for a job as an instructor and then a Duty Manager… and now I’m the General Manager of the wonderful world that we all call Craggy; and I wouldn’t change a thing. It is possible and don’t be afraid to make that dream a reality!

Posted in 3 Star Membership, Craggy Island News, Danie Rushmer, Guildford News, Newsletter, Sutton News | No Comments »

Where’s your Head at?!

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015 - Posted by Danie

Damn that dyno...How many times have you been psyching yourself up to do that big move when you suddenly find yourself worrying about if the rope will hold/will your belayer catch you/will you hurt yourself when you land… The list goes on and on! Truth is that none of these things are likely to happen and it’s all “in your head”.

That’s all well and good, I hear you say, but what can you really do about it?:

1. Trust the people you’re climbing with. If you’ve only just started climbing or this is the first time you’ve climbed with someone new then build up gradually and take your time. Talk to your climbing partner about your worries. If they know that you’re nervous or may fall then they’ll be sure to pay extra attention! You might need to work on communication too so that you can let your belayer know when you want the rope tighter or simply for them to pay you their full attention during a move or sequence.

rock climbing at Craggy Island2. Try doing some practice falls. Now, this won’t work for everybody as you’re isolating a tiny part of your climbing experience when you do this. For some though, practicing falls on lead or top-rope is invaluable so it certainly shouldn’t be ruled out. You and your climbing partner should find a quiet area of the wall and practice taking falls. The climber will climb up to a height they feel comfortable (believe it or not, the safest place to practice falling is actually at the top of the wall!), making sure that they’re high enough that a lead fall won’t put them in danger and a top-rope fall won’t mean that they’ll touch down. Next, you simply agree with your partner that you’re going to fall off and… off you pop! Belayer happily holds the fall and climber gets the experience of knowing it’s all going to be ok.

3. Climb til you have no choice but to fall. This is my preferred method of “practice falling” as the fall is just a part of what you’re doing and not, for want of a better description, role play. You climb a route that you know you’ll find tough and agree with your partner that they won’t take the rope in if you get scared, thus forcing you to take the fall. It’s surprising how much a bit of fear can focus your climbing ability so you may have to tire yourself out by doing laps on a route to get this to work as, eventually, you simply won’t be able to hold on any longer.

Mark Croxal climbing at Craggy Island4. Practice calming and relaxation techniques before and during your climb. Take a few minutes before you set off on your route to take some deep calming breaths, think through and “read” the route from the ground. This will mean you’re best prepared for the task ahead and should find yourself panicking if the going gets tough. When you get to a move that you’ve anticipated as being difficult, breathe. Oxygen is vital to the sensible functioning of your body and mind and you’ll do yourself no favours by holding your breath during a hard move!

5. Don’t let go. A very wise climber once told me… “If you don’t let go, you can’t fall off.” He was entirely right. However, there is also a need to man-up and accept that falling is an inevitability of enjoying climbing as a hobby. If you’re wanting to push your grade then you will have to take some falls as you cannot possibly succeed on everything.

Posted in 3 Star Membership, Craggy Island News, Guildford News, Newsletter, Sutton News | No Comments »

5 Rock Climbing tips for Beginners

Monday, October 26th, 2015 - Posted by Danie

1. Allow yourself to be a beginner.  I know that sounds too simple, but seriously, everyone has to start somewhere.  Don’t expect to be scampering up through the grades after just a few sessions.  It takes time and practice for your body to get used to your new favourite sport.

2. Get the right kit.  Having the right shoes and harness can really make a difference to your climbing when you’re getting started.  Don’t just hop on to ebay and buy the cheapest – they won’t fit you right and you’ll have wasted your money.  Go to your local climbing shop (we’re very luck to have Rock On here at Craggy Guildford!), try lots of different things on and take the advice that the shop assistant has to offer you.

3. Ask lots of questions.  If you’re new to climbing then you’ll be wanting to make sure that you fully understand everything so you don’t take any unnecessary risks.  The staff at a climbing wall are always very happy to answer any questions and give advice as necessary.  You’ll find other climbers are an invaluable source of information too and are, on the whole, an incredibly friendly bunch!

Beginners4. Get some tuition on your Technique.  It can be tough to get the most out of your climbing physically when you’re just getting started.  A Private Lesson with an Instructor could give you all the skills you need to be trying harder climbs and succeeding on routes that just don’t seem possible at first.  If you’re feeling a bit skint, spend time watching other climbers to see how they do moves that you’re stuck on.  Even better, bring a friend to watch too and you can then advise each other on whether you did the moves right or not.

5.  Have Fun!  This is by far the most important piece of advice.  Don’t take climbing too seriously or you’ll be put off if you’re not starring in Mission Impossible by week 2!  Find people to climb with that make your trips to the wall enjoyable – you’ll look forward to every visit even more then and having a regular partner to climb with will motivate you to climb more often.  If you’re lacking in partners, pop along to one of our Socials.

Posted in 3 Star Membership, Craggy Island News, Guildford News, Newsletter, Sutton News | No Comments »

BREAKING NEWS!: 10 year old Toby Roberts climbing Raindogs, 8a

Sunday, October 25th, 2015 - Posted by Danie

Toby Roberts ClimbingWe are very pleased to announce that Toby Roberts, a member of the Craggy Island Youth Climbing Team, has just climbed Raindogs, 8a at Malham Cove in Yorkshire.

Raindogs, at the immense and atmospheric Malham Cove, is one of the most well known 8as in the UK. Many climbers have enjoyed this as their first 8a and the grade has been confirmed many times over by it’s ascentionists.

Read Toby’s write up and watch the video of his ascent here:

The amount of effort that Toby has put in to this project has been incredible.  He redpointed the route earlier today having stayed on for an extra couple of days after a week long trip to climb in Yorkshire with his father.

Toby Roberts climbing this route means he is the youngest person to climb it and among the youngest climbers in the world to climb a route of this difficulty.

In June of this year, Toby took 2nd Place at his first International competition out in Imst, Austria at the Youth Color Felstival which is held annually and attracts competitors from all over the World.

Great competition results coupled with his abilities outside on rock really do make Toby a very exciting young climber for the future and we can’t wait to see what he gets up to next!

Well done from all of us Toby! :o)

Toby Roberts ClimbingMore about Toby Roberts climbing:

Age:  10

Started climbing:  When I was 8 years old

How I got in to climbing: I climbed with the school and then went along to some competitions and really enjoyed the challenge!

Hobbies: Football, Rugby, Triathlon & Running

Best competition result: Coming 2nd in Europe at Youth Colours Competition in Imst (when in Lower D!). Also enjoyed winning both YCS competitions at home wall at Craggy, coming 3rd at Nationals 2015, 1st in Scottish Climbing Championship in 2015 and winning Blokfest 2014\2015!

Sponsors: Lyon Equipment & Craggy Island

Blog address:

Posted in 3 Star Membership, Craggy Island News, Guildford News, Newsletter, Sutton News | No Comments »

Recipes: Granola Flapjacks

Sunday, October 25th, 2015 - Posted by Danie

These super-simple and yummy Granola Flapjacks make for a perfect pre, during, post or anytime climbing snack!


1 x 23cm tin lined with baking paper

100g porridge oats

50g puffed rice cereal, such as Rice Krispies

85g desiccated coconut

50g dried apricots

50g dried cranberries

50g raisins

50g blanched hazelnuts

50g pecan nuts

50g pumpkin seeds

130g light muscovado sugar

140g golden syrup

125g butter


1.  Chop the apricots into pieces. Tip the oats, puffed rice, coconut and fruit into a large bowl and mix well.  Put the hazelnuts, pecans and pumpkin seeds in a frying pan with no oil and, over a moderate heat, stir until they are lightly toasted.  Leave to cool before adding to the mix.

2.  Put the sugar, syrup and butter in a small pan and heat gently, stirring with a wooden spoon until melted, then simmer for 3 minutes until slightly thicker and syrupy.

3.  Quickly stir the syrup into the dry mix, stirring until it all starts to bind and there are no dry patches.

4.  Quickly tip into the prepared tin and press down with the back of a spoon to even out the surface. Leave to cool and set in the fridge – about 2 hours. It cuts well in to 9 pieces or you can get 16 smaller pieces (these are the size of the ones at Craggy) which are ideal for grabbing every time you walk past them!

Tip:  This also works really well as a dairy-free version.  Simply replace the butter with your preferred dairy-free spread.  Be careful to keep stirring and have the heat a little lower whilst your syrup mixture is thickening though or you’ll end up with a burnt taste.

Posted in Craggy Island News, Guildford News, Newsletter, Sutton News | No Comments »

Recipes: Salted Caramel Brownies

Friday, October 16th, 2015 - Posted by Danie

Our super-indulgent Brownies are probably the reason for a fair few people’s grades dropping recently… Don’t be shy though, just come climbing more often!


1 x 23cm tin lined with baking paper

200g unsalted butter

100g Plain Chocolate

100g Milk Chocolate

397g can Carnation Caramel

1 tsp Flaky Sea Salt, plus a little extra for the top

200g golden caster sugar

4 Large Eggs

130g Plain Flour

50g Cocoa Powder


1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Melt the butter in a small pan, break in all the chocolate, then remove the pan from the heat and wait for the chocolate to melt. If you try to do it all at once you run the risk of your chocolate splitting so don’t rush this step!

2. In a small bowl, mix 175g of the Caramel with 1 tsp of Sea Salt. Put the rest of the Caramel in a large bowl with the Sugar and Eggs, and beat until even.

3. Whisk in the melted Chocolate and Butter mixture. Then, add the Flour and Cocoa. Beat briefly until smooth.

4. Pour half the brownie batter into the tin and level it with a spatula. Using a teaspoon, spoon most of the Salted Caramel on top of the batter layer in evenly spaced stripes. Spoon the rest of the brownie batter on top and smooth it out, trying not to disturb the caramel beneath. Top with the rest of the caramel using a teaspoon to drizzle it over.

5. Scatter with a couple more pinches of Sea Salt, then bake for 25 mins or until risen all the way to the middle with a light crust on top. When ready, the brownie will jiggle just a little when you shake the tin. Let it cool completely in the tin, then cut into squares. It cuts well in to 9 pieces or you can get 16 smaller pieces (these are the size of the ones at Craggy) which are ideal for grabbing every time you walk past them!

Tip: Try to make these the day before you’re going to eat them (I know, it’s tough!) as they get a gorgeously fudgey texture when they’ve been left overnight in the fridge. If you need to eat them straight away, I can recommend letting them cool for about 25-30 mins and then eating with a scoop of ice cream…  Yum! They serve up very well as an envious pudding at a dinner party in this way! ;o)

Posted in Guildford News, Newsletter | No Comments »

Recipes: Rocky Road

Friday, October 16th, 2015 - Posted by Danie

As our Rocky Road has fast become an addiction for many of our members, we thought we’d let you in on our very simple recipe:



1 x 23cm tin lined with baking paper

500g Chocolate (we use milk chocolate but you can adjust to your personal taste)

90g Marshmallows

121g Maltesers (they’re the ‘grab pouch’ size)

200g Glace Cherries (can be substituted with raisins)

50g White Chocolate (for decoration)


1. Break up the Chocolate and melt in a bowl over hot water. Break up the White Chocolate and melt in a separate bowl over hot water.  Keep the heat low to avoid the chocolate splitting.

2. Put the Marshmallows, Maltesers and Glace Cherries in a large bowl and mix well.

3. When the chocolate has melted, allow it to cool for about 5 minutes.

4. Once the chocolate has cooled pour it into the bowl with the Marshmallows, Maltesers and Glace Cherries and mix well. A silicone spatula works best so you can scoop all the chocolate from round the edges.  Then, pour the mixture into your prepared tin.

5. To decorate, use a teaspoon to drizzle the melted white chocolate over the top.

6. Place the tin in the fridge and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes or until the chocolate has completely set.

7. When you’re ready to devour it… Remove from the tin and cut using a long-bladed knife. It cuts well in to 9 pieces or you can get 16 smaller pieces (these are the size of the ones at Craggy) which are ideal for grabbing every time you walk past them!

Tip: Experiment with different ingredients. A nutty version works really well if you use slightly salted chocolate. I’ve also done a sweet-shop version with lots of yummy sweets thrown in and then pressed in to the top of the mix to decorate.

Posted in Guildford News, Newsletter | No Comments »

Southern Sandstone: How to get out there and start enjoying it!

Sunday, May 3rd, 2015 - Posted by Danie

The Southern Sandstone is the closest real rock to both of the centres and the unique style of climbing required and strange features certainly make it very interesting to climb!  There are several outcrops located around the Tunbridge Wells area in Kent that are well known for their easy access and friendly atmosphere.  The main crags such as Harrison’s rocks and Bowles are great places to start out as they offer climbs of all grades and so are great for mixed ability groups heading outside. (They also make a lovely place for a family picnic with a sneaky bit of climbing on the side!)

Please adhere to the Southern Sandstone Code of Practice!Due to the soft nature of the rock, lead climbing is not allowed and so the preferred ascent style is to top rope the climbs.  This makes the transition from inside to outside much easier as you do not need a great deal more equipment to get started.  Obviously there is certain safety information, such as the correct rigging of ropes, that need to be learnt so we do advise that you seek instruction before or during your first visit.

There are several guidebooks available which map out the climbs and all basic information; these are all available from Rock On at Guildford and other good climbing shops.

Do not be put off if you find the rock quite difficult to climb at the start.  Due to the sandy nature of the rock it can be hard to get to grips with as the holds are normally made up of large flat slopers so balance and body positioning are essential skills to master in order to succeed on these rocks.  However, once you get over these first few barriers there is a whole selection of quality lines on these great outcrops that will have you returning time and time again.

As you move through the grades there are 3 star classic climbs just screaming out to be climbed!  Climbs such as Niblick at Harrisons and the steep but juggy Pigs Nose at Bowles are perfect examples of Sandstone climbing that simply shouldn’t be missed.

The closest crag to both Craggy Islands is Stone Farm which offers some great low level climbs of cracks and slabs.  Other crags to note in the area are High Rocks which is a great place to push yourself as it holds a lot of climbs in the upper region.  Also worth a mention is the peaceful Eridge Green which is tucked away in quiet woodland which can make for a very relaxing day out.

Please be aware that a lot of the crags in this area are on private land and do come with specific access restrictions.  Some crags, such as Bowles and High Rocks, require you to pay an entry fee to climb there so please respect this so as not to jeopardise future access.  Others, such as Harrisons and Stone farm, are now owned by the BMC so access is free but it is always worth checking out current restrictions before your visit.

There is also plenty of bouldering on the sandstone and with development during recent years it is growing into a great venue for all aspiring boulderers.  With problems ranging from the very easy all the way up to the top level, it will certainly keep you busy for some time.

There is a dedicated guidebook covering just the bouldering on the sandstone.  For more information on this please visit

Please adhere to the Southern Sandstone Code of Practice!

Posted in Craggy Island News, Guildford News, Newsletter, Sutton News | No Comments »

Craggy climber accepts place on GB ParaClimbing Team!

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014 - Posted by Danie

Nick MiddletonNick Middleton, 37 from Guildford and a regular climber at Craggy Island, Guildford’s indoor climbing centre has been selected to represent his country as part of the GB ParaClimbing Team following a sustained set of impressive results in the recent British ParaClimbing Series held throughout the country.

Nick, who was born with the lower half of his left arm missing, started climbing when he was a Scout.  Progressing through college in Brighton and university in Portsmouth, where he studied to become a mechanical design engineer.  His first taste of competition climbing came in 1993 at an event hosted by Brighton University when he managed 178th out of approximately 400 able-bodied entrants.  “I was not happy with the result” says Nick.  “I carried on climbing regularly and introduced friends to the sport too.  I then entered a similar competition again the following year and this time came 4th!”

“Such resilience and determination typifies Nicks amazing climbing ability” says Danie Rushmer, general manager at Craggy Island and an award winning climber herself.  “We are so proud of Nick and will be supporting him all we possibly can in his future competitions.”

Climbing took a backseat to travelling for a number of years whilst he enjoyed white-water kayaking, archery and his burgeoning career as a mechanical design engineer.  But then, in 2004, Nick started climbing regularly at Craggy Island.  “The guys at Craggy are very supportive.  They don’t see the arm as a shortcoming any more than I do.  Having a brother and sister growing up ensured I always saw myself as the same and had a go at everything.  I became very adept at making equipment for myself – Velcro and guttering makes a great adaption for archery, for example!”

Nicks climbing calendar includes events held throughout Europe over the coming months as well as the World ParaClimbing Championships which will be held in Spain in September.

If you’d like to support Nick in attending his competitions, please donate via his page at

Posted in Craggy Island News, Guildford News, Newsletter, Sutton News | No Comments »

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